Saturday, October 15, 2011
Man Booker Prize boosted by net gains
You can follow it on Twitter, join a Facebook group and even download an app for your iPhone. The Man Booker Prize can in no way be accused of failing to embrace the digital world wholeheartedly. This year it has added, to its already considerable online presence, a barrage of fresh initiatives, including podcasts of interviews with shortlisted authors; a series of blogs written by the judges on Kindle Post, which explain the reasons behind their choice of shortlist; and a dedicated Man Booker "room" in the iBookstore. Dotti Irving, the Man Booker Chief Executive, enthuses about the newly updated Man Booker App: "It is fantastically exciting... in one app you can get the history of the prize, information about the judges and extracts of the shortlisted works."
Irving is keen to insist that the slew of digital initiatives does not signal any slackening of the prize's commitment to the printed page. She points out that sales figures for the shortlist in its traditional book format are "stronger than ever", and that there are lots of book-based events taking place across the UK. Nor is it possible to say that new ideas are only reserved for new technologies. At the British Library last Tuesday, Man Booker held a one-off event in support of libraries in which three of this year's shortlisted authors, Carol Birch, Stephen Kelman and A D Miller, talked about the importance of libraries in their own lives to an audience of librarians and library groups.
Sadly, its high-tech equivalent, which was scheduled for yesterday evening at the Apple Store in Covent Garden, and was also to feature three shortlisted authors (this time reading extracts of their work from iPads), was cancelled following the death of Steve Jobs. Irving hopes it will be possible to hold a similar event after the announcement of the winner.